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Listing the Reasons by omnioculars

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 9,284
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, Remus/OC

First Published: 11/16/2012
Last Chapter: 11/30/2012
Last Updated: 11/30/2012

Summary:






 Some people try yoga to relax; others read books. I even knew a girl once who ordered house-elves to massage her feet. Myself? I prefer to write a good ol' list, and order the chaos of my thoughts. Who knew that my lists would catch the attention of Sirius Black?


Chapter 1: List Number One
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[A.N. If this story seems familiar, you may have read it under a previous penname of mine, which I hated. The story has been deleted there, and given new life here - with new and improved chapters! Thanks for reading, and if you like the story, let me know!]

 

Top ten reasons I’m making lists.

10. It helps to organize my thoughts.
9. It amuses my friends to no end.
8. I like even numbers.
7. It helps me forget the mountains of homework.
6. I’m aiming to become a world-class list-writer.
5. Teachers think I’m doing work in class – when I’m not.
4. Lists help me remember important facts.
3. It makes me feel intelligent.
2. It’s my genius invention to cure boredom.
1. It annoys Sirius Black.

*

I tapped my quill against my cheek as I made an effort to read the latest chapter assigned for Charms class. My eyes keep wandering, however, towards the bacon and scrambled eggs piled high on the plate next to me. And to a hand holding a fork which was shovelling enormous amounts of food into an equally enormous mouth.

“So,” mumbled Sirius Black loudly through the mush of his half-chewed breakfast, succeeding in spraying large quantities of it all over the table before managing to swallow, “you couldn’t do the reading last night because you were making another list? You do realize how ridiculous that is?”

“Do you realize how ridiculous your face is?”

“That is the worst comeback I have ever heard, Roberts. Maybe you should make a list of retorts that don’t stink; that might be a list worth writing. While you’re at it, you can write a list about me, too – Top Ten Reasons Why Sirius Black is the Hottest Boy in Hogwarts.” The grin that flashed across his face was so bloody cocky that I really can’t be blamed for what happened next. I mean, the plate practically tipped itself.

Staring down at the scrambled eggs covering his lap, a look of horror replaced the previous grin. “Eryin, these are my favourite robes! And I’ll be late for class if I go upstairs to change them!”

“Well, you won’t have to worry about a list about how hot you are, unless you mean literally hot, because those eggs are still steaming,” came Potter’s voice from the other side of Black. “Actually, that colour yellow goes perfectly with your eyes. Maybe that could be added to the list.”

As Black began grabbing handfuls of egg from his lap and attempting to smear it in his best friend’s face, I quickly got up and left the table. It wouldn’t be long before those eggs found a new target. I sighed in frustration – I hadn’t managed to finish my chapter OR get anything to eat.

Just as I reached the door, Lily Evans caught up with me. She shook out her long red hair (which was unnaturally glossy, in my opinion), and linked her arm in mine. “What idiot has put that frown on your face?”

“Do you really need to ask?” In fact, Lily might need to. We’d only recently struck up our friendship; I think, after she started dating James, she began to crave some female companionship, and all of her previous friends were being petty and jealous. Of what, I have no idea, because Potter was nearly as bad as Black, but that wasn’t something I’d mention to Lily.

“Ahh, so you’ve had another run in with Mr. Black, have you?” Lily’s smirk could have rivalled Black’s. “You know you could just ignore him, right?”

“How can I? He’s in my House, my year, practically all my classes, and his best friend is dating one of my best friends! It’s like the pillock is bloody stalking me!” Okay, I was getting a little worked up here, but that....Black, he just gets under my skin. I was quite affronted when I noticed Lily trying to hide a giggle behind her hand. “It’s really not funny, Lily.”

“Well no, it isn’t funny, per se; it’s just, did you ever think all this angst and hatred could actually be a form of chemistry?” The knowing look in her eyes was completely out of place, as she had just proven she didn’t know anything at all.

I started to walk away, refusing to suffer anymore indignity (okay, so I was storming off in a huff), but Lily pulled me back, laughing. “No, no, you’re right, he’s probably stalking you. Besides, they always say that opposites attract, which means you guys have about as much chance as falling in love as Dumbledore does with a hippogriff.”

Now I was offended AND confused. “And what the heck is that supposed to mean?”

“Well,” she started, tapping her finger against her bottom lip, her eyes looking anywhere but at me. “You know, you’re both, uh, kind of similar. You have some of the same habits and traits.”

Nope, I was back to just plain offended. I looked around to make sure no one had heard her (because I might have died of mortification if anyone had). Luckily, the corridor we were currently walking through was empty. “I have absolutely nothing in common with that dung-for-brains arrogant idiot!”

Again, Lily started smirking at me. Again, my feet itched to storm away in anger. “Yes, you do. You both leave everything to the last minute, if you remember to do it at all. You’re both more often late to class than on time, neither of you understand the concept of tidying, you’re both confident, have strong senses of humour - and then there’s the whole prank thing.”

“Prank thing?” My eyes opened wide in, I sincerely hoped, a look of pure innocent. She couldn’t possible know that I was the one who charmed her slippers to walk away every time she tried to put them on. Or that I was the mastermind behind why her books all suddenly began singing love songs whenever she opened them. “What prank thing?”

“Oh, you know what I’m on about, Eryin; I remember our second year, when paper planes would appear out of thin air to dive-bomb Sirius’ head; or in fourth year, when toy soldiers took to attacking Sirius’ feet every time he entered the common room. I know those were yours – I saw them on the windowsill next to your bed the week before. How about last year, when Sirius’ boxers had been floated to the top of the Astronomy Tower’s spiral and charmed so that they were out there for days? I have no idea how you got his boxers, but no one else in our year is as good as you in Charms,” I could hear the grudging respect in her voice at that bit, and I think my head may have swelled a bit with pride, “and in the end, one of the professors had to vanish them, because they were stuck so well! There were countless other times as well; and, as far as I know, all your pranks revolve around Sirius Black.”

“They were in retaliation!” I gave Lily my most exasperated look, which I thought might cover my relief over her lack of Lily-aimed-pranks knowledge. “I only did them AFTER Sirius – I mean, after Black did something to me first! That makes it fair, I’m telling you!”

Whether my telling her anything had an impact, I have no idea, because she decided to leave the prank-based discussion behind (thankfully). Instead, a challenging glint appeared in her eyes. “So, you’re completely different are you? Name one thing that is so incredibly different that even I will have to admit it.”

Oh, please, I thought to myself. And then I thought some more. And realized this might be harder than I believed. Occasionally, yes, we had been known to like the same things – snowball fights, midnight snacks in the kitchens, secret dashes to Hogsmeade for butterbeer supplies, a trip to Zonkos (although, not for anything prank-related, of course). But there were surely a hundred things we thought differently about. Merlin’s beard, so why couldn’t I think of even one?

And then I had it. Not just it, but IT; I am talking the biggest difference between us, something so humongous that we could never get passed it: “I hate Quidditch.”

Lily let out a gasp of horror. I don’t know why – as far as I knew, she had also disliked Quidditch until Potter had managed to burrow his way into her affections. In fact, from what classmates had said, she would turn up at the matches with a book. That didn’t scream ‘Quidditch-lover’.

“No one hates Quidditch, Eryin. There are those who love it, and those who don’t understand it. Who do you sit with at the games? They’re obviously not getting you involved enough.” She glared around as though the culprit might be standing by, waiting for a tongue-lashing. Instead, a group of first years squealed under her stare and disappeared around the closest corner.

I snorted in a rather unfeminine way. “As if I’d sit through an entire Quidditch game; I think I’d rather watch paint dry. I haven’t been to a game since first year, and even then I left ten minutes in. It’s bloody boring, Lily!”

Lily’s loud ‘Aha!’ made me jump. And then her beaming smile made me cringe. I knew this could not be good. “Well, that just explains it, doesn’t it? You don’t actually know if you like Quidditch, because you haven’t sat through an entire game, which will change as of tomorrow! You, Miss Eryin Roberts, are coming to the Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff came with me!” Her self-satisfied expression made me feel like crying.

“Uh, Lily, I wasn’t joking. I hate Quidditch, and I have no interest whatsoever in torturing myself, so I think I’m going so say a really big, fat, polite thanks, but no th-” And then I noticed her bottom lip. Normally, I’d pay no more attention to another girl’s lips than to notice whether they’re smiling or not. Only, at the moment, that dratted bottom lip was trembling. And now Lily’s brow was dropping dangerously low over her eyes. A tiny sniff sealed the deal – I cannot stand being guilt-tripped, especially when it comes to tears. Admittedly, I had used the tactic on others before (men were such suckers for a little sniffling), but I couldn’t deal with it being turned on me. “Okay, okay! OKAY! Stop fake-crying, I’ll go to the bloody game with you, so long as you know you are a horrible, mean-hearted friend.”

Nodding happily, Lily agreed. Little did she know that, as she pulled me into the Charms classroom, I was already thinking of excuses. Did anyone get scurvy anymore? Because I think it’s about to come back with a bang.

*

Sirius Black was annoyed with me. This wasn’t an unusual occurrence; we’d spent nearly the past six years annoying each other, but today it was a pathetic, sullen Black that sat behind me in class. That in itself wouldn’t bother me (how can it, when I didn’t need to see his face?), but it was the way he keep yanking my hair every time I placed my quill on the parchment to take notes that was beginning to bug me. This wasn’t the behaviour of a 17 year old boy; it was like Black’s mind had never left preschool. Not that Sirius Black had been to preschool, or even knew what that was, but that was beside the point. Lily and James were watching us closely between sending each other what I can only assume were love notes back and forth.

For what felt like the millionth time, I spun around in my seat and hissed, “Would you quit that?” In response, Sirius gave me an innocent look – but the moment I turned away, my head was jerked backwards again.

I gave an infuriated growl, and heard Black whisper to Potter, who was sitting next to me, quite loudly, "Someone still has her panties in a twist." Well, that was that. Not only was Black now discussing my undergarments in an overly-noisy voice so that everyone in the class could hear, he had called my pants ‘panties’. What was he, American?

In my defence, I think I might have been momentarily possessed by Peeves, or some other mischievous ghost. That or my wand acted of its own accord – yes, not unlike the plate this morning at breakfast. One minute I was sitting there, trying to count to ten (my mother says this is an excellent way to rein in one’s temper), and the next I’m standing in the aisle, pointing a wand at Black’s shocked face. I listened to myself yell “Rictusempra,” and then watched with satisfaction as Black fell off his chair laughing hysterically, waving his hands around as though fighting off an invisible tickling assailant. I mean, err, the spirit possessing me watched with satisfaction.

“Excellent wand-work, Miss Roberts!” Professor Flitwick had climbed on top of a pile of books to get a better view of Black. “See how he is too busy trying to fight the laughter to use his own wand to rid himself of the charm? A very powerful witch is required to make such a strong incantation. It is unfortunate that I have to take twenty points from Gryffindor for unauthorized duelling -” he waved his hands to silence the groans suddenly omitted throughout the room, “- but you should all take note of Mr Black’s reaction – sometimes the simplest way is the best, if in a duel. Very well done, Miss Roberts, very well done indeed! I think perhaps Mr Black should, shall we say, laugh this off in the hallway. Err, Miss Roberts?” I was still staring at the tiny teacher in astonishment. “You can sit back down now.”

I had been too surprised to blush before, but suddenly my cheeks were the colour of ripe tomatoes, and I sat down with my hair swung forward to hide my face. I didn’t need to look around to know that the entire class was glaring at my head. Well, almost the entire class.

“Roberts, that was fantastic!” Potter leaned closer with a huge grin. As the professor tried to manoeuvre Black’s wildly swinging form out of the classroom, Lily’s boyfriend patted me on the head - like a bloody dog! “You’ll have to teach me that one – Flitwick was right, it could definitely come in handy! Umm, Roberts, why are you growling at me?”

I stopped when I realized what I was doing, and bared my teeth in a smile instead. The way Potter was eying me with uncertainty, it probably looked more like I was readying myself to bite him.

“Yeah, so,” Potter said uncomfortably, “Lily seems pretty excited that you’re going to the match with her tomorrow, so that’s cool, right? I mean, I think it’s great that she has someone to go with; now she won’t have to pretend to be reading a book the entire game.”

“Why would she do that?” Pretending to read a book at a Quidditch match was only slightly weirder than actually reading a book at a Quidditch match, but at least I could understand the latter; the game was so boring that I might start reading for fun, too.

“She doesn’t want me to think that she’s watching,” he said slyly. We both turned to look at Lily, who was sitting in the front row. As though feeling the weight of our stares, she turned to give us a funny look. We quickly started whistling, looking anywhere but at her. Of course, when I realized I was synchronized whistling with bloody Potter of all people, I immediately stopped and shivered.  What was wrong with me? At least it hadn’t been Black – that would have been worth tearing my hair out over. Or his – that was a prettier mental image.

As Potter gave me a last grin before turning back to his love notes, I gave an inward sigh. Today was already ruined, but without realizing it, Potter had also ruined tomorrow. Lily really did appear to be excited – she kept turning with big smiles and waving at me. Well, so much for scurvy.

 


Chapter 2: List Number Two
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 Top ten ideas to make Quidditch more entertaining.

10. Make the players wear fancy dress.
9. Insist that every team needs at least one teacher to play.
8. Blindfold the seekers.
7. Replace the Beaters’ clubs with rubber chickens.
6. Introduce a “Tag-you’re-it” system for the Chasers.
5. Make broom tricks required.
4. Give extra points to the most entertaining broom tricks.
3. Have riders double-up on the brooms.
2. Make the Keepers ride Hippogriffs.
1. Ban Sirius Black.

*

I dragged myself out of bed the next morning with all the enthusiasm of a woman on death’s row. I realize that that might sound a tad extreme, but an entire Quidditch match did sound like a death sentence, and my prison warden was the most chipper girl in Gryffindor.

“Are you ready to watch the greatest game in the world?” I was surprised my skin didn’t begin to tan from Lily’s beaming face. She had obviously chosen her outfit with the day’s activities in mind; her jeans were normal enough, but she was wearing a bright red jumper, covered with a crimson corduroy jacket, and wrapped around her neck was a crimson and gold Gryffindor House scarf. And now she was eyeing my much more sensible attire (jeans, black knitted jumper and a white winter coat) in disdain. “You couldn’t try for even the tiniest bit of House pride?”

“Oh, c’mon Lily,” I scoffed. “The result of the game isn’t going to hinge on the colour of my clothing. Besides, it’s the weekend – I don’t want to wear my bloody uniform all the time!”

“It’s not part of the uniform,” she responded briskly, pulling her scarf from her neck and swinging it tightly around my shoulders. “If you’re going to sit with me, you’ll have to wear something red. It’s a matter of principle, Eryin.”

I tried vainly to yank the scarf that was now choking me, but she’d obviously tied some knots in it. “I really can’t take this; I mean, what will you wear?” I glanced again at her Rudolf-red clothing, and realized I hadn’t presented the best defence; and then I groaned as she pulled a large red-and-gold hat out of her bag with a flourish.

Placing it on her head, she gave me a large smile and proceeded to grab my arm and tow me out of the castle. My stomach complained about the lack of breakfast, but Lily kept insisting that we get down to the stands early to get the best seats. I was surprised with the amount of students who appeared to have the same idea – the seats were already half-full by the time we arrived.

Lily spotted Potter and the team off to one side, and dashed off for a good-luck kiss, leaving me to pick my way to a decent spot. I found a couple of empty seats near the middle of the Gryffindor stand; as I sat, Sarah Macdonald plunked herself down next to me on the seat opposite to the one I’d saved for Lily. A fellow Gryffindor in my year, Sarah was known for being friendly – sometimes a bit too friendly with some of the boys, but I’d never held that against her.

“Hi Eryin! Do you mind terribly if I sit here? I was meant to be watching the match with a couple of Ravenclaw boys, but one of the teachers recommended I sit with my own House – how silly is that? I mean, so much for making strong inter-House ties.” I tried to agree as she paused to take a breath, but she started talking again so quickly, I didn’t really have a chance. “I’m so excited for this – the first match of the year is always a little boring, but the players are so strong and handsome, I could watch them forever!”

Her sentence had ended on a sigh, and it was the first time I actually saw someone become doe-eyed. To be honest, it wasn’t particularly attractive – I would have called it a combination of being cross-eyed and very surprised. She was also gazing vaguely towards the goal posts, which made her look a little dazed. I resisted the urge to snap my fingers in front of her face.

 It took her a few moments to take notice of me again, but when she did, she looked at me in surprise. “Now that I think of it, you don’t normally come to watch the games, do you? I thought you weren’t keen on Quidditch.”

I hesitated for a second – I really didn’t need another horrified gasp. “Err, yeah, I suppose I’m not the biggest team-sports fan...”

Sarah completely surprised me: “Yeah, me neither. It’s kind of boring, right? But the boys are fine and sometimes the winning team does its victory lap topless!” The excitement on her face was overwhelming. Jeez, if you want to see the boys naked, walk in on them in the shower. They’d probably even appreciate it more.

She leaned towards me conspiratorially, and lowered her voice to just above a whisper. “Besides, I like to keep an eye on James Potter – that boy is beyond hot, and he has amazing talent with a broomstick.”

Besides the slightly homoerotic imagery that accompanied that statement, I was shocked for a much more obvious reason. “Sarah, you do realize that Potter is dating Lily now, right?”

The derision that accompanied her snort of laughter made my hand inch towards my wand pocket. “Lily? Please, she wasn’t interested in James until it was announced he was Head Boy AND Quidditch captain. That girl is clinging onto his popularity, not his personality, and he’ll see it soon enough, even if I have to guide him to that conclusion myself. Lily’s just a stuck-up know-it-all, playing games with James’ affection.”

“Wow, Sarah, that’s really not how things are –”

A slight scuffle of shoes on wood made both our heads turn. Lily was standing behind us, her expression nothing but cool scorn. Sarah’s cheeks were suddenly a red to make Gryffindor proud, and she stood up abruptly.

“You know, I don’t think I’ll sit here, after all, Eryin. You obviously keep a different kind of company than what I prefer.” Although I could practically feel the heat coming from her face, Sarah’s voice was as cool as Lily’s expression. She turned her back to us and made her way to a different seat, albeit slightly faster than one would expect from a normal situation.

Lily sat down next to me, keeping her back straight and her eyes forward. I was surprised how calmly she was taking the words of that silly witch. If someone was that rude to my face, they’d quickly discover why people called me Eryin ‘She’ll-curse-your-cow-like-face-off’ Roberts. Okay, so no one had ever called me that, but I liked to believe some people thought it.

At least, I was surprised at her calm until I really looked at her face. She quickly darted her hand up to brush away a tear, but there were more forming.

“Aw, Lily, don’t listen to that idiot. She doesn’t know what she’s saying!” I put a supportive hand on Lily’s shoulder (or at least, I assume it was supportive – this whole caring-friend thing was new to me).

“She knows exactly what she’s saying, and so does everyone else who talks about that rubbish behind my back. Did you know that Jenny called me a trollop in Potions last week? I just stood there, thinking I must be dreaming, because me and Jenny were always such good mates.” Another tear fell and I started feeling like I was going to hyperventilate. Fake tears are bad, but real tears?

“Well, honestly Lily, if that’s the kind of things they’re saying, why bother listening? They’re all complete and utter dingleberries!” I said that with complete conviction, and Lily looked at me sideways.

“Err, Eryin? Do you know what a dingleberry is?” The combination of amusement and disgust apparent on her face was much better than the tears (which seemed to be drying up slightly).

“Nope; some of the lads call each other by it – I assume it’s poisonous or smells funny, or something?” I shrugged my shoulders; I wasn’t known for being clever with words, as I was much more of an action kind of girl. Insult me and expect to be hexed, people.

Lily scrunched up her nose in revulsion, and shook her head. “It’s probably just as well you don’t know what it is, because you really don’t want to.”

I immediately decided to look it up upon returning to the castle.

All of a sudden, Lily grabbed my arm and made a girlie squealing sound (she was like a revolving door; her emotions never stayed the same for long). She pointed above us, where the Gryffindor team was flying their formation lap around the pitch. Potter blew his girlfriend a kiss, which she returned with one of her own. Sirius sent me a wink, which I returned with a rather rude hand gesture.

After landing long enough to shake hands with the Hufflepuff team captain, a whistle sent both teams high in the air; the game was officially started, and I was already bored.

I spent the first ten minutes trying to follow Lily’s lecturing before giving up, nodding my head occasionally so I appeared to be concentrating on the game; in reality, I was trying to picture both teams naked. After a few minutes of this, I realized I was more likely to be violently ill than entertained by this plan, and while that might (MIGHT) have convinced Lily to let me go, it also might have turned my brain to mush.

I was perhaps too enthusiastic in my nodding-ploy, as I soon found myself nodding off completely. Lily must have given up on me, because the next I knew, I was jumping up in terror as she started screaming. I immediately reached for my wand, nestled in my pocket, but before I could get to it I was being suffocated by a Lily-bear-hug. I could finally make out some words in her shrieking.

“WE WON! WE WON! JAMES AND THE TEAM WOOOOON!” The screams became wordless again, and I was starting to feel somewhat sick from Lily swinging me around. I was always a slight girl, but I never thought those arms had enough strength to hurl me about with such ferocity.

I was of course pleased that our team had won, or as pleased as I ever was – this put us one step closer to winning the House Cup, but the excitement in the air was overwhelming; everyone was crying and hugging, and the roar was deafening. Maybe no one realized that this was just the first match of the season.

Lily let me go and said something I couldn’t hear over the crowd. When I cupped my ear, she pointed to the Gryffindor team, who had just landed in the middle of the pitch. She took me by the hand and started pulling me down the steps. I understood – she wanted a victory snog.

However, it seemed that someone else had got there first; as we managed to finally break through the crowds to reach where Potter was, we stepped into an awkward situation (or at least, it was awkward for me). Sarah Macdonald was standing on the tips of her toes, balancing herself with a hand on Potter’s arm, giving him a kiss – her mouth would have hit his if Potter hadn’t quickly turned his head away. Sarah made the best of the situation, though, and brushed her lips right across his cheek in a decidedly indecent manner. As she pulled away, she looked up at Potter through her eyelashes and said, “I was watching you out there, before. I've never seen you look so sexy.”

It was like a firecracker had gone off in a rather sensitive area of Lily’s body – one second she was standing there in shock, and the next she had pounced on Sarah’s back, screaming bloody murder. I tried to pull her off and got a fist to the eye for my bother. Potter was on the other side of the fight, horror widening his eyes; he tried to reason with Lily to no avail.

“I will deal with you in a minute, James bloody Potter!” With Sarah’s hair wrapped tightly around Lily’s closed fist, the furious redhead started dragging the other girl away. “First, I will deal with this cat-in-heat by dumping her in the Black Lake!”

Potter gave a low moan. Teachers were dotted among the crowds of celebrating students, and although they hadn’t noticed anything yet, it didn’t mean they wouldn’t eventually. “Lily, she was just congratulating me! Stop being so paranoid; we won the bloody game, didn’t we?”

That was the completely wrong tone of voice to take with Lily Evans in her current mood. Swift as an fox, she had her free hand clenching Potter’s ear, and she started dragging both caught students towards the lake, ignoring all complaints. I was amazed at her strength, although James didn’t seem to be willing to use any force on his girlfriend, and Sarah was concentrating wholly on keeping her hair attached to her head.

A low chuckle next to me made me glance away from the mad scene for a moment, before then making me pick up the pace in my pursuit. Black looped easily alongside me, and even had the nerve to swing his arm around my waist. I immediately shoved him away, although I didn’t take my eyes off of Lily – she was like a woman possessed. I wondered when the last time the Bloody Baron had been seen.

“So, how did you enjoy our amazing showcase of talent and skill, Roberts?” Black shot a grin in my direction. “Even you must admit that we were pretty incredible out there today, and unbelievably sexy, right?”

“Unbelievable boring, perhaps; I slept through most of the game. I mean, you’d be pretty fantastic as a hypnotist; five minutes watching you and I was out like a light.” I saw a flash of irritation cross Black’s face before the grin settled back.

“Ah, so you admit you were watching me!” His smirk was blinding; I may have growled under my breath at this point.

We arrived in time to see two huge tentacles rise out of the water, grab Lily and Sarah by their waists and haul them apart. The one holding Lily, who was kicking and screaming in fury, didn’t let go until Sarah had run at least a hundred yards towards the castle, and then plopped her back in the lake with a splash. Potter, who had been standing besides the lake dripping wet, was staring at Lily, aghast. When she turned her glare towards him, he quickly retreated behind Black.

I, of course, was now doubled over in laughter. Lily looked like a drowned rat, and was now hitting the water with her fists as if to take out the last of her anger. I was laughing so hard that I didn’t notice Black creeping up behind me until he put his hand on my back and shoved me head-over-heels into the water. As you can imagine, I was suddenly no longer amused.

Spitting out a mouthful of lake water, I looked up at a very satisfied Black. “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?!”

“C’mon, Roberts,” Black said, raising an eyebrow at me. “You didn’t really think I’d hit my head and procured amnesia, did you? I haven’t forgotten about a certain plate of eggs ruining my robes, or a charm you cast on me in class yesterday. And you didn’t think I’d just let that go, did you, Roberts?”

I reached for my wand to wipe that arrogant smirk off Black’s face – and my hand came up empty. As panic started to rise, I noticed Black twirling a wand between his fingers; a wand that definitely wasn’t his. Now I understood why he’d bothered putting his arm around my waist.

“Give me back my wand, you idiot!” I tried to haul myself out of the water but fell backwards from the weight of my water-logged clothing. “You can’t just steal someone’s wand!”

“I’m not stealing it, Roberts, I’m just borrowing it.” He nudged Potter, who was still peeking at Lily over his shoulder; they both mounted their brooms, and kicked off to hover a few meters above the ground. “You can of course have it back; I’ll just hold it in the common room. All you’ll have to do is ask really nicely, with a lot of please’s and thank-you’s.”

I lunged at the numb-skulled morons, but Black just laughed and sped off towards the castle. Potter hesitated a moment longer, looking at a defeated Lily now sitting in the lake, before disappearing after his friend without even a glance in my direction.

I waded my way over to Potter’s girlfriend, who looked so completely dejected that the edge of my anger blurred. I hauled her out of the water to sit on the grass, where we both leaned against each other for warmth.

“Do you think he’s cheating on me?”

I stared out at the lake, avoiding Lily’s stare. “I don’t know, Lily. I wouldn’t think so, but...”

“But he didn’t seem to mind Sarah’s attention, did he?” She sighed heavily, pulling herself up from the ground. “I think I’ll just head up to the castle; I might use the prefects’ bathroom to clean up, if you want to come? Besides, it always has spare clothing in there, and the house-elves can wash and dry ours.”

I joined Lily on her trek back to Hogwarts, but my mind was a million miles away. I should probably have felt more sympathy and more concern for the future of my friend’s relationship, but my thoughts were otherwise engaged with plans of revenge.

Sirius Black would be lucky to survive the fury of Eryin Roberts.


Chapter 3: List Number Three
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Ten things I hate about Sirius Black.

10. His hair – no one’s hair should be that perfect.
9. His arrogant attitude.
8. The way he treats Snivellous - err - I mean, Severus Snape.
7. The way he walks into a room like he owns it.
6. His arrogant friends.
5. The fact that he plays Quidditch for Gryffindor.
4. His eyelashes and how unnaturally long they are.
3. His arrogant laugh.
2. The mischievous sparkle in his eyes.
1. The way his smile makes me want to like him.

*

After the rumours of what happened at the lake spread like wildfire throughout Hogwarts, it was suddenly unbearably awkward in the Gryffindor common room. For one, Lily was still not speaking to Potter, regardless (or perhaps because) of the numerous times Potter tried to approach her. This situation wasn’t helped by Sarah, at all. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, and had taken it upon herself to try and comfort Potter over his very public breakup.

The biggest problem was that Potter seemed to sincerely have no idea why Sarah’s attention would bother Lily. He was heard more than once grumbling about ‘crazy women’ who have ‘no bloody clue what they’re on about’. This was most commonly said after Lily had (silently but with no less effect) stormed into the girl’s dorm for the night.

And I, of course, was stuck listening to Lily’s complaints of ‘stupid men’ who had ‘no more sense than a sack of trolls’. While this was enlightening (not), I was beginning to fray at the edges. Lily was a new mate, and she hadn’t realized yet how little I enjoy talking about girl problems. Or boy problems. Or anything connected to the four living nightmares that are Potter, Black, Pettigrew and Lupin. (Actually, that’s not really fair – I didn’t have a problem with Peter and Remus, precisely; it was just that the four boys seemed attached at the hip, and anything attached to Black probably had fungus growing on it.)

I was, however, in debt to Lily. After we’d taken a long time cleaning up in the Prefect’s bathroom (where house-elves brought us fluffy, warm towels and plenty of chocolate biscuits), Lily returned with me to the Gryffindor Tower and promptly hoisted Black in the air by his ankle, a trick she said a childhood friend had taught her. That little spell could have come quite in handy if she had spoken the incantation out loud, but apparently it was non-verbal (drat!) and she didn’t want it spread around the school. (As I’d seen Potter and his friends use it, I understood that she’d mistakenly shown her boyfriend, and he’d let it slip to his pals – I made a mental note to try and torture it out of them at some point.)

As Black swung upside down, going ever redder in the face, I attacked in the only physical way I knew would break him – I began tickling his sides from behind, while yelling at him to reveal the hiding place of my wand. After begging his friends for help (who were all rolling around on the floor, tears streaming from their eyes), he finally told me to look underneath the cushions of the chair he’d just been sitting on. While this was completely unimaginative, I appreciated how simple it was to retrieve it, and then use it to let Black down.

Collapsed on the floor, Black’s infectious grin appeared back on his face. He was leaning his head back, looking at me upside down. ‘Hey Roberts, move closer, I can nearly see up your robes.’

My poor wand arm was suddenly possessed by one of the malevolent ghosts that always seem to be haunting me – I have no idea how it managed to make Black sprout goat horns, but one minute his head was horn-free and the next it wasn’t.

The problem was, Black actually LIKED the horns – he was up and running around the room ‘bahhh-ing’ before I could even blink. I made a very unwomanly-like snort of frustration before following Lily out of the room (seemingly, after James had got past his fit of laughter, he’d tried to speak to Lily, who cast a partial body-bind and ran up the stairs).

I might have been able to handle Lily’s constant rants about James and his inability to act like a grown wizard if the teachers hadn’t declared war on the students – weapon of choice: essays after essays after bloody long essays. Every class seemed to start with a speech on how important NEWT year was, and how the grades we received would determine our career choice, and by proxy, the rest of our lives. Blah, blah, blah. What the really meant was they planned to smother us with rolls of paper and useless, boring text books, and expect us to thank them for it at the end.

And because of Lily’s incessant need to talk things over with me, I was finding it harder and harder to find time to study. She could pop out an essay in under an hour, smarty-pants that she was; I needed full on silence to get anything done, and that was the last thing I was getting in the common room.

On top of that, Black’s way of trying to make Potter cheery again involved upping the pranking antics. This meant that I had to be on the constant lookout for unusual objects littered around the room, including quills that exploded into mini-fireworks, books that always seemed a few inches from reach, no matter how close your hand got, and a variance on the Muggle-made whoopee-cushion: it would continue making farting noises for hours after it was sat on.

Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t have my own fun now and again. When Black was being particularly noisy one day, I slipped a sweet into his bag that caused his tongue to stick to his mouth for a full day before Madame Pomfrey managed to unglue it. Peter sat on my favourite chair by the fire and received a nasty shock in the way of a full-on tail (which the rest of his friends thought was absolutely hilarious, beyond what anyone else had done).

For the most part, however, I respected that other students were studying too, and tried to keep my pranks to a minimum. Black and his pals were not nearly so considerate.

That was how I found myself going to the library in all of my spare periods; partly to avoid having my nose turned into a snout, and partly to avoid long whingey talks about whether I thought Potter could really be interested in other women.

I was walking back to the Tower after a particularly productive study session when I turned the corner of a hall to hit smack into another student. My things went flying - all my books, ink pots and scrolls tumbling through the air. A less appealing object to appear from the depths of my bag was a dung bomb that I had been saving for a rainy day (or a sunny one, or cloudy; it didn't really matter at all about the weather, actually, as it was intended for the next person to interrupt my essay-writing). 

This particular dung bomb was actually flying directly towards the other student, whom happened to be someone I knew of but had never spoken to - Severus Snape. Our eyes, both wide with surprise, followed the flight of the dung bomb. I wanted to turn away (this all felt like one of those corny film moments where everything is suddenly slow motion), to avoid seeing it make impact, when Snape whipped out his wand and pointed it directly at the projectile (and subsequently my face). 

His speed was astonishing, but apparently his aim was a little lacking - instead of getting just the bomb, he managed to knock me backwards as well. Directly into the wall behind me. Which was made of stone. And to top off what was quickly becoming the absolute best day of my life (err, sarcasm!), the dung bomb hit me squarely in the chest, exploding to cover me with an eye-watering stench. 

And suddenly I understood the term 'seeing stars'. As I slid down the wall in a semi-conscious state, I was looking directly at Orion's Belt (or was Snape just accessorising today?). I turned my head a fraction and watched the Big Dipper dip even lower (as Snape bent over me, muttering something that sounded vaguely like an apology - but then, I was quite obviously concussed and might not have been hearing him correctly). I started thinking it had been a mistake to drop Astronomy; I was obviously more informed than I thought. Then my attention was caught by an incredibly bright star - the brightest star in my hazy star-filled galaxy delusion. My muggy brain clawed around desperately for its name, as the star sped towards me. Ah yes, that's right. The Dog Star.

I began giggling like a Confounded idiot (or so Black told me later, when he'd helped me back to the common room). Apparently I started patting my leg and calling, 'Here, puppy! Heel!'

As the stars began to clear away, I saw Black frozen in the process of turning the corner. I admit, it obviously looked worse that what it really was - I was half-sitting, half-lying against the stone wall, with what had to be a ridiculous look of confusion on my face. Snape was still holding his wand pointed loosely in my direction (although I was pretty sure he'd grumbled something about getting me to the Infirmary, and about how angry Lily would be - again, concussed, because there was only one Lily that I knew of in Hogwarts, and for all she preached on about inter-House connections, she wouldn’t be caught dead talking to a Slytherin).

'What the ruddy hell have you done to Roberts?!' And with that, the shock of the moment was over, and Black had his wand in Snape's face. 

'She fell over,' Snape sneered. 'You Gryffindors are so brawny, your brains are too small for such little things as coordination, balance, the ability to walk...'

He was silenced by the need to immediately conjure a shield between himself and Black, as the latter had begun firing hexes at the slimy Slytherin faster than my slightly-crossed eyes could follow. I helpful tried to wave the galaxies in front of me away with my arms, and nearly lost a few fingers for my effort. I slowly and carefully pulled myself up against the wall, all the while threatening to curse the floor if it didn't stop heaving underneath me. I tried 'hemm'-ing to get their attention, but the sound was lost under their furious shouting. The spells were bouncing off shields and walls and even the ceilings, but I was much too dizzy to bother dodging. 

Finally, I gave into animal instincts and screeched as loudly as humanly possible, 'Oi, dung-for-brains!' Neither of them even battered an eye.

What finally ended the duel was the daftest thing I’d ever witnessed; behind their defensive shields, the two boys had been hurling insults at each other. I assumed it was a ‘mine is bigger than yours’ thing, so I gave up trying to interfere. When Snape used my name, however, my ears definitely perked up. Perhaps literally, I don’t know.

‘Your precious Roberts looks ready to faint, Black – this is the best timing you’ll ever get. I hear you like your girls fainting at your feet. Bit below your usual standards, though, isn’t she? I wouldn’t touch her even if she wasn’t a mudblood.’

I’d been called that before. In fact, I wasn’t what most people understood a mudblood to be; my dad was a wizard, my mum was a Muggle, so really I was a half-blood. However, idiots will be, well, idiots. I was slightly more miffed at his insinuation that I wasn’t attractive. I mean, what girl ever wants to hear that? I kept my face cool; it was obviously a reaction the slimy git was after. Unfortunately, he still got one.

Black's expression became scary, and his eyes flicked towards me; in that moment of hesitation, Snape hit him with a full body-bind. While Black toppled backwards, Snape gave a last derisive snort and disappeared towards the corridor leading to the dungeons. 

I could tell my feet were planning mutiny so I stomped them a couple of times in a clear warning. When they seemed firmly attached to my legs again, I made my over to Black's prone body (every girl's fantasy, right? Not!).

His eyes rolled around to look at me. I couldn't decide if I was angry with the bloody idiot who'd thrown hexes first with no intention of asking questions after, and also decided revenge took precedence over my (un)well-being - or pleased that Black cared enough to bother at all. When I looked back later on, I realised Black probably just appreciated the excuse to curse one of his least favourite people, but at the time, I was by turns pretty flattered and mildly scornful.

Sighing, I collapsed into a crossed-leg position by Black's head. I put my finger on my chin in a thoughtful manner (actually, my finger landed closer to my ear - the knock into the wall hadn't improved my coordination). ‘Well, that was a move worthy of a first year. I mean, allowing your enemy to distract you with words.’ I shook my head in disappointment. ‘That could get you killed someday. Just pathetic.’

His eyes narrowed slightly. I’m sure if he had full use of his body, Black would have a few choice words to say, but I decided to take advantage of his immobility.

‘While I have you here, Black,’ I said, as though he’d dropped by for tea and biscuits, ‘I actually have something I’d like to say.’

Although his facial muscles didn’t move in the slightest, I decided that he was waiting politely for me to make my point. ‘You may not have noticed, given the size of your overactive ego, that our two best mates are currently not speaking. This is mildly frustrating for me, because I happen to like a little thing called peace, and equally adore silence.’ I was starting to get worked up. ‘In fact, I think I’m entitled to some Eryin-time. I’ve spent six bloody years watching Potter and Lily gravitate around each other, the battle of wits, the dance of the majestic peacock. I stood by while you idiots pulled prank after prank, disturbing my precious world with your pathological need for attention. I am a NEWT student. My essays will be read for years to come and my exam results will change the world. I WILL NOT LET YOU MAKE ME FAIL.’

I stopped for a moment to ponder my own insanity, while Sirius stared at me (I couldn’t understand how he could look scared without moving his face). I wondered if he was trying to curse me with the power of his mind.

That reminded me to grab his wand. I had to lean over him to reach it, and my face came uncomfortably close to his. His eyelashes were inches from my nose for a second, and I felt a pang of jealousy over their length. I found my hand unconsciously creeping forward as if to touch them – thankfully, it was the hand currently holding Black’s wand, which then poked him directly in the eye.

I leapt backwards, away from his still-frozen face, afraid that he might whack me or something. Of course, that didn’t happen for some very apparent reasons, but he was glaring daggers at me when he finally managed to open his eyes again.

‘That was unintentional, Black,’ I said in my most formal voice. ‘I am currently concussed and I have yet to return to my normal coordinated self.’ To give kudos where it’s due, the boy didn’t roll his eyes at me, but that might have something to do with the death glare he was still sending my way.

I carefully placed both of our wands on the ground next to me, and raised my hands in the air. ‘To get back to my point, I am sick of Lily. And I am sick of the pranks you and Potter keep pulling. I want to be able to study without worrying about the footrest eating my feet. So I want to propose something to you.’

Black’s eyes widened and I had to laugh. ‘I said propose something, not propose! Please, I could do so much better.’ (Ninety-nine percent of the female population of Hogwarts would disagree, but they hadn’t seen Black sniff his dirty socks to see if they were wearable for the tenth day in a row.) ‘I will remove this body bind if you promise to keep all girls, with the exception of Lily, away from Potter. And I mean ALL girls, including Sarah Macdonald. In the meantime, I will convince Lily to take back that troll you happen to call your best mate.’

This conversation felt a little one-sided, but I didn’t want to unbind Black until I was sure he wouldn’t hex me. ‘Further to that demand, you are also forbidden from cursing me in retaliation for this. Do you agree to my terms?’ That should do it, I thought.

My mind was a little fuzzy still, so it took me a full two minutes to understand why Black wasn’t responding. ‘Oh Merlin, I’m sorry! Give me two blinks if you agree.’

With that done, and my terms agreed to, I picked up my wand and waved it at Black’s body. As he gave a massive stretch, I had to turn my head away when his top rode up. Yum, the girly part of my brain said. The sensible part of my brain quickly shoved the other part in a closet and locked the door. It then took the key, melted it down, made it into several buttons and cast those into the deepest part of the ocean.

‘Cheers for that speech, Roberts,’ Black said, sitting up. ‘It was really inspirational. And I’m totally dedicated to your cause. In fact, I might get t-shirts made up. “The Mission of the Majestic Peacocks”.  We can sell them to fund our campaign.’

He prattled on like that for awhile – I have no idea how long, because all the blood had rushed to my head when I tried to stand up, and I was currently trying not to hurl my lunch all over the floor. It could have been seconds, it could have been days. I only know he stopped because his body was suddenly in front of mine. I was suddenly tempted to lose all self-control and puke all over his smarmy face.

‘That slimy git got you good, didn’t he? The next time I even see a hint of grease from his disgusting hair, he won’t be able to walk for a week.’ He put his hand under my arm and dragged me into a semi-upright position, and then began leading me to the Infirmary.

I tried to shake him off, not least because I’d die of mortification if anyone saw me arm-in-arm with Sirius Black, but he was insistent. I tried to explain I would be fine when the floor stopped jumping around, but that just caused him to speed up. At least he’d spelled my things to follow behind us.

I managed to convince him to leave me at the door, as it was too difficult to explain why the trouble-maker of the school would be with someone concussed without looking guilty. He grudgingly passed me my possessions and turned away.

‘Roberts?’ he threw back over his shoulder. ‘Make sure you grab a shower before you head back to the tower. We can’t have the common room stinking of dung bomb.’

I’d completely forgotten about the stench that was clinging to my robes. Very possibly I’d gotten used to the smell, which was more disturbing than anything else that had occurred in the past hour. I might have let out a little groan. ‘Go to hell,’ I called after him.

Not willing to let the last word go, he laughed and responded, ‘Don’t forget to add this to your list about why I'm the sexiest boy in school - "He always shows up in the nick of time to save me from possible Slytherin murder plots". Also, don't enjoy watching me walk away too much, Roberts; Madame Pomfrey might think you have a fever.’ With that, he pranced off with a distinct sway to his hips.

Because his back was turned, he also missed the hand gesture I sent after him.

 

[AN: I'm trying to get these chapters out as soon as possible for you guys, and attempting to keep a few chapters ahead of myself! As with any story, if you like it, let me know! I love hearing back from people. Cheers!]


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